An £11 million plan to enable more widespread use of electric vehicles across the UK has been announced by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).
The scheme is designed to make it easier for drivers to charge plug-in vehicles in a number of major cities and will initially be rolled out in Birmingham, Coventry, Glasgow, London, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Oxford and Sunderland.
The plan has been created to help support the roll-out of a single national network that will eventually enable plug-in vehicles to be easily used and recharged anywhere, including the home. Electric cars are currently limited by range and there are few recharging points outside of London.
Known as the joined-cities plan, the scheme is part of ETI's overall plug-in vehicle project announced in July. The scheme saw £25m given by the ETI to help support electric car trials in the UK, a figure matched by the manufacturers taking part.
Announcing the scheme at the Low Carbon Vehicle Event 2009, held at Millbrook, ETI chief executive David Clarke said: "We are supporting a UK collaboration to evaluate and accelerate the market for plug-in vehicles.
"Enabling plug-in vehicles to compete effectively in a market alongside petrol and diesel vehicles with their extensive infrastructure is a challenge. These plug-in vehicles are currently unknown to most consumers, who will want to know if they will be versatile, will they be affordable and will they be as easy to refuel/recharge?
"Through our plan we will help to enhance the versatility and ease of recharging. Other aspects of the ETI project will determine what it will take to reach a self sustaining mass market."
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Moving to using electric vehicles which emit zero pollution will have a major impact on cutting carbon emissions, improving air quality and reducing noise pollution.
"I want to make it much easier to go electric which is why in London we are planning to roll out 25,000 charging points. So I'm delighted that the capital is part of the joined cities network helping to speed up the electric revolution across the country."